FutureFive NZ - The Techday Weekender - Jun 9th 2012

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The Techday Weekender - Jun 9th 2012

Following speculation last week about a possible shake-up in the telco sector, Telstra confirmed on Tuesday that it is in discussions with Vodafone about possibly selling its New Zealand subsidiary, TelstraClear.

The sparse statement offered little other detail beyond the fact that Vodafone was the instigator in the talks, and that ‘there is no certainty as to whether an agreement will be reached’ – leading to a great deal of media speculation.

The main theory to emerge suggested that Telstra might offload TelstraClear in order to ‘clear the decks’ for a purchase of Telecom. Divested of its network arm, Chorus – and thus a great deal of regulatory restriction – Telecom could certainly be an attractive proposition for the company that could afford it. Having said that, it’s only been a few months since the separation, and any potential purchaser would probably prefer to see some business-as-usual time pass – particularly under the new CEO – before making any decisions.

Speaking of CEOs, acting chief executive Chris Quin has indicated he’s not just going to hold the fort in his time at the top, announcing on Friday that the company will be de-listing from the New York Stock Exchange.

It’s all part of a streamlining strategy for the company, and comes just one week after Paul Reynolds officially stepped down from the role.

In other business news, professional networking site LinkedIn was the victim of a security breach this week, with reports saying as many as 6.46 million passwords may have been stolen and posted online. Of course, while having a stranger sending erroneous messages to your business contacts would be annoying, the real danger is that many people use the same password across all of their work accounts, creating a headache for IT security departments everywhere.

In gaming news, the industry’s biggest annual event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), took place in Los Angeles this week, and while fans were disappointed by the lack of news about the big players’ next-generation consoles, there were still some gems in the new game announcements.

Microsoft offered an extended look at Halo 4, the highly anticipated addition to its flagship franchise, along with announcing some new features including the integration of Internet Explorer with the Xbox 360. As for Sony, the company was keen to stress the importance of the Vita handheld in their plans, promising a ‘deep lineup’ of titles including Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified and PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale.

Of course, there were stacks of other cool trailers – for example, these previews of Injustice: Gods Among Us and Elder Scrolls Online – but perhaps the most exciting announcement was that of new Ubisoft title, Watch Dogs, which looks to combine the sandbox environment of Grand Theft Auto with the cyberpunk chic of Syndicate.

Speaking of playing games, file sharing kingpins The Pirate Bay continued to toy with the media industry this week, issuing a scathing response to a suggestion that search engines could aid the fight against file sharing by blocking file sharing sites from their results.

Claiming such a move would actually increase the site’s traffic by cutting out the competition the search engines offer, the statement is an example of the kind of adversarial rhetoric that The Pirate Bay has traded in for a while. The trouble is the group’s Robin Hood veneer is starting to wear thin, leaving them sounding childish and arrogant – especially in comparison with the sincere, reasoned argument of the recording industry boss who made the recommendation in the first place.

Finally, in a move that demonstrates an innovative use of a unique new technology, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have launched an advocacy website on the controversial new .xxx domain.

Fronted by porn star Ron Jeremy, the site includes slogans like ‘too much sex can be a bad thing: have your cats and dogs spayed or neutered’, as well as links to ‘hardcore videos’ (footage of animal cruelty in farming) and ‘sex tips’ (a list of performance-enhancing fruits and vegetables). There’s no actual nudity, so it’s safe for work – but only just.

Have a great weekend, we’ll be back Monday.

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